Saturday, April 17, 2010
Discover an exciting cultural heritage in the Maldives
The Maldives is synonymous with luxury resorts offering world-class cuisine and accommodation, pristine palm-fringed beaches, sensational diving and snorkelling and sumptuous spa facilities. For those who are happy to ditch the deckchair, the Maldives also has an exciting cultural heritage, rarely seen by many visitors and waiting to be explored.
Guests staying at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort and Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort can swap sunbathing for sightseeing and discover more about the Maldives’ traditions, local island way of life and its capital Malé.
Cultural excursions at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort, located in the South Male Atoll, include:
Malé Experience: Few people take the time to see Malé, the smallest capital city in the world, but it offers a great insight in to the history and foundation of this wonderful country. Amidst the densely crowded streets is a pleasant, quirky city with an incredible array of shops and lively markets where traditional items can be bought including handcrafted wooden lacquer ware, plates and woven mats made out of dried reeds. There’s a guided tour to the Islamic Centre and Grand Friday Mosque to see the golden dome which dominates Malé‘s skyline. Visitors can then enjoy the lovely gardens at Sultan's Park, visit the National Museum and for a real flavour of the Maldives, wander the fish and local markets. Available twice per week from US$ 75 per person.
Sunset Fishing & Beach BBQ: A chance to learn or enhance fishing skills whilst watching the sun go down. This trip culminates on a desert island with a BBQ dinner under the stars, including some delicious, freshly caught fish! Available on Tuesdays from US$ 75 per person.
Local Island Half Day: See the local way of life on Guraidhoo and Maafushi islands and their traditional houses built out of coral stones, mosques and schools. Available four times per week from US $45 per person.
Excursions at Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort, located in the South Nilandhe Atoll, include:
Half Day Island Discovery: Visit the local fishing villages at Meedhoo and Bandidhoo in the Dhaalu Atoll to experience the Maldivian way of life. Meedhoo is a tiny island, which was severely hit by the 2004 tsunami. Visit its mosque, primary school, power house and health centre erected under the aid of UNICEF. Bandidhoo has significant landmarks in the form of a 300-year-old mosque and an old Banyan Tree. Home to many Dhoni or traditional boat builders, it also has its own indigenous doctors for which the island is renowned for. Available twice per week from US$ 45 per person.
Full Day Island Hopping: An extension to the Half Day Island Discovery, this tour incorporates a visit to a third uninhabited desert island, Faandhoo picnic island to enjoy snorkelling, swimming and sunbathing. After exploring the virgin island and surrounding waters, enjoy a delicious BBQ lunch under the shade of palm trees. Available twice per week from US$ 62 per person.
For more information regarding Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort visit olhuveli.com and for Vilu Reef Beach & Spa Resort visit vilureef.com.
Destinology (destinology.co.uk) offers seven nights for the price of six on a half-board basis at Olhuveli Beach & Spa Resort from £1,289 per person (a total saving of £130 per couple). Valid for travel on selected dates from 1 May to 30 July, the price includes return flights from Gatwick with British Airways, resort speedboat transfers, taxes and surcharges. Nestled amidst tropical vegetation and surrounded by a vast sandy, award-winning beach and crystal clear lagoon, facilities include a selection of restaurants and bars, two large pools and an excellent watersports centre with one of the only registered kite-surfing schools in the Maldives.